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MSR and Conquest likely to miss St Pete

MSR Indy may not be the only team forced to sit out the first races of 2012, with also reporting this week that Conquest Racing looks certain to be absent from the season opener at St Petersburg - and may not even make it onto the starting grid before the Indianapolis 500 at the end of May.

"Right now, I think we will have to miss the first four races," said Conquest owner Eric Bachelart, whose team has been a part of IndyCar for ten straight seasons. "We have to plan like the season will start at Indy."

Bachelart admitted that engine supply talks with Chevrolet, Honda and Lotus had hit a dead end for the time being. "We have not been able to do anything with our car because we have no engine for it," he conceded. "We would like to be out testing right now, so it's quite frustrating."

The uncertainty about an engine means that Bachelart can't even have serious discussions with any of the dwindling number of drivers still in the market for a seat. "Until I can confirm I can get an engine, I'm a bit stuck. It's hard to sell a program when you can't tell people when your season will begin, or how many races you can do."

Bachelart added that he now has to rely on the IndyCar Series itself brokering a deal with a manufacturer to ensure that Conquest isn't caught out by a shortfall in engine supply capacity to teams in 2012.

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